U.K. biotech Bicycle Therapeutics raised £40 million (approximately $52 million) in a Series B round of fundraising to further develop its lead Bicycle Drug Conjugate® (BDC) anticancer candidate BT1718 and additional drug candidates. The fundraising was led by new investor Vertex Ventures, with participation by additional new investors, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Longwood Fund, and existing investors, Novartis Venture Fund, SROne, SVLS, and Atlas Venture.

Bicycle’s BDC technology exploits the firm’s bicyclic Bicycle peptides to target toxic payloads to tumors. BT1718 targets membrane type 1 metalloproteinase (MT1-MTP), which is expressed in a range of solid tumor types, including triple-negative breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Bicycle states. The candidate is projected to start in clinical trials this year, through the firm’s partnership with Cancer Research UK, established in December 2016. The latest fundraising will in addition be used to support additional pipeline programs through to early clinical development, with the first of these programs projected to be selected later in 2017.

“This financing represents an important validation of our approach, while providing Bicycle with the resources to continue to advance our pipeline and translate our bicyclic peptide technology into important new treatment options for patients,” said Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Bicycle Therapeutics’ CEO. “We are grateful for the continued strong support from our investors as we move BT1718 rapidly toward the clinic and continue to advance our preclinical programs, including toxin drug conjugates and immune modulators, to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases.”

During April, Bicycle reported selecting a preclinical candidate for treating diabetic macular edema as part of its ophthalmology alliance with ThromboGenics. In December last year, the firm inked a potentially $1 billion collaboration with AstraZeneca to discover and develop Bicycle candidates for treating respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.

Separately today, Massachusetts-based Deciphera Pharmaceuticals reported closing a $52 million Series C round of financing to progress its lead early-clinical-stage anticancer candidates DCC-2618 and DCC-3014 into later-stage clinical development. The fundraising round was led by Viking Global Investors LP, Redmile Group, and Sphera Global Healthcare Fund and joined by Deciphera’s existing investors, including New Leaf Venture Partners.

Deciphera is focused on developing small-molecule kinase switch control inhibitors that address anticancer drug resistance by blocking kinase activation. DCC-2618 is a pan-KIT and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFRα) kinase switch control inhibitor in clinical development for the treatment of KIT and/or PDGFRα-driven cancers. The drug is currently in Phase I clinical development in patients with advanced malignancies, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors, aggressive systemic mastocytosis, and malignant gliomas. Data from the ongoing study will be presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, which starts tomorrow.

Deciphera’s macrophage immunomodulatory agent DCC-3014 has been designed as a highly specific, small-molecule CSF1R immunokinase inhibitor. The firm has previously reported preclinical data confirming that DCC-3014 exhibits potent macrophage checkpoint inhibition in multiple cancer models, both as a single agent and in combination with a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor. In March, Deciphera started a Phase I study with DC-3014 in patients with advanced malignancies.


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